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The Temptation of Ticino
By Therese Bruning
31 October 2010





A 3 hour journey on the ICE train from Zurich using our Swiss Pass had us arriving in Lugano, the main city in the region of Ticino which is near the Italian border. Scenic valleys, delightful towns and beautiful lakes ensured we kept a constant lookout as you never knew what was going to appear at the end of each tunnel. For those wanting a quicker way to arrive in this pretty city, Lugano is about an hour’s train ride from Milan.
 

The Lugano train station is very close to town at the top of a steep hill – but fear not – if you don’t feel like taking the very pleasant scenic walk, the funicular (tram) can take you down for a small cost.  

This is the area to experience Switzerland – Italian style. Situated on Lake Lugano, you immediately get drawn into it’s Mediterranean feel, with piazzas surrounded by flower filled balconies, a lakeside promenade and the beautiful backdrop of mountains filled with villages – each with its own charm.

A short bus ride along the lake takes you to the bottom of  Mount San Salvatore , 
where for CHF28 (holders of a Swiss Pass pay only 50%) the funicular transports you nearly 1km above the city for panoramic views, and a visit to the Chapel of San Salvatore and the museum.    
 
 If you want to pick a great weekend to visit at this time of year, try not to miss the Autumn Festival, which celebrates the harvesting of the grapes. In order to make room for the new vintage, it’s time to clear the cellars of the previous vintage, which means time for drinking, eating and dancing. The town was alive with market stalls, bands, and the townspeople and visitors enjoying themselves until the early hours of the morning. As well as the town’s restaurants, there were many food tents with huge vats of polenta, stew and other local specialties. There was something for everyone and it was a really fun evening. 
 

 
Hint: The Lugano Tourism office offers a different sightseeing tour daily – the majority of them being free of charge, so it’s a great way to see & learn more of this area.
 
 

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